I have been forced to publish this article of mine, thanks to the extraordinary ‘hype and hoopla’ created by Danny Boyle’s latest offering about a ‘Rags-To-Riches’ story, set in the background of the Mumbai’s slum dwellers.
I happened to see the movie yesterday and to be very frank, couldn’t garner many positives from the script, which in itself, I believe, is mutilated but not exaggerated.
To begin with, I must furnish a brief synopsis of what I felt about ‘SM’. An engrossing tale of a young guy from the slums who fights gangsters, nepotism and his own existence to win crores and subsequently his love, is appreciated. But I need to confess that the very treatment of the subject matter supercedes the technical aspects of the film. The flaws are extremely explicit. The greatest examples are the scenes where children in the slums suddenly switch to ‘English’ language and some people are made to speak the language, just for the sake of it. As someone who admires good cinematic values, this one reveals a lot less. I could feel that ‘American’ touch in it, which is, quite inevitable. But exploiting the grey areas, zooming them to maximum effect and portraying a nation’s values in negative shades, is something which is not acceptable.
Something which I just couldn’t digest was this particular scene where a young Jamal is beaten up by the locals after a tourist’s car was looted. The young boy says, “This is India for you.” And the woman reciprocates, saying “This is true America for you”. And then his companion pulls out his wallet and throws away some dollars to the boy. I would, rather, ask all my readers to comment on this. What did that imply? What was Mr. Danny trying to impart? I am just lost. I understand that there is a strong message conveyed in this. But was the context right? Even the scene where a younger Jamal rushes to Amitabh Bachchan for an autograph, with excreta all over him, was quite bewildering. I am still wondering about all this, especially when the entire world is going ‘gaga‘ over this movie and it is winning every possible award that it comes across.
As far as the casting and performances are concerned, I sincerely believe that some of our finest talents have been wasted. Irrfan Khan and Saurabh Shukla were hardly there. I had no clue what Raj Zutshi and Mahesh Manjrekar were doing in this flick. Anil Kapoor as the mysterious and egoistic host tried his best to be in his usual self, but had to deal with a script which was custom made. And the newcomers were decent. As far as ARR is concerned, Rahman’s genius is not new to Indians and predictably, the soundtrack and background score is outstanding. But I felt that he could have given this one a miss, especially after considering the script and editing. And I am sure that he doesn’t need a ‘Golden Globe’ or an ‘Oscar’ to prove that he is one of the best. Well, if it calls for something like ‘Global Recognition’, it could have better come through a more substantial and unbiased script. Moreover, for America, ARR’s music is new and innovative. For us, he is a household name. I guess that says it all.
I would love to see a movie winning plethora of awards, not just for entertainment, but also for a superlative script and a strong, yet appealing, social message,that’s endearing to one and all.
To sum it up, ‘SM’ could have been much better. For me, it doesn’t live up to the expectations. It’s a good attempt, but the manner in which the storyline and the charactors evolve, lacked authenticity.
Most of them are expecting that ‘SM’ will go all the way to win the ‘Academy Award’. If it doesn’t, I would be least disappointed.